God bless our church for mentioning oppression of all kinds, even emotional and spiritual, and for reminding me that it is not our state of being, that there is freedom to be found in Jesus.
“Oppression” is actually a complex word but basically it means, prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control, or mental pressure or distress.
Who in the world does not experience “mental pressure or distress?” That is so very true! I however, am not claiming it. I am so familiar with oppression, I rebuke it in the name of Jesus. There just ain’t no room for that in my life.
When we are speaking of systems, “Oppression refers to a malicious and harmful pattern of unjust treatment or control which is practiced by a regime or a societal group. Oppression may be overt or covert, depending how it is practiced.”
Also a, “unjust, cruel, or legalistic exercise of authority or power.”
Slightly amusing, because I’m walking a really fine line here. I totally get oppression, I have a lot of experience, but for the sake of good spiritual and emotional health, a bit of denial is good for the soul. Also, I’m a firm believer in faith, in being intentional about what you want, even if you must rest your eyes on something not yet seen. So I completely rebuke oppression, break it off of my life, refuse to live there. My eyes are on this oppression free place.
A friend of mine used to say, “you don’t have a gun to your head.” It was a great reminder that I have choices, that some 80% of oppression is actually in our own heads, a total mind game. That’s a completely made up number, but I am trying to make the point here that many of us have been gamed. We’ve bought into a lie. We’ve been deceived. A bully doesn’t have to beat you up 24/7, they just call you names a few times, make a few threats, and that worms it’s way into your reality, and then you start to doubt and question yourself. You become oppressed.
There are some people of a more left ward bent who I dearly love, but I have to say something anyway. Sometimes all this focus on social justice can be really harmful to people, because it demands constant focus on the nature of the problem, not on the solution. That makes sense on a political level of raising awareness, but on an individual, personal level, it is complete bondage, perpetual slavery. It demands constant awareness of the problem, and heaps of emotional distress to go along with it.
I’m chuckling here, because you know what the real definition of “privilege” is? People who do that! People who run around telling everyone how oppressed they are. Dumping that on people who are trying to heal is actually cruel.
My heart just breaks for young people who have grown up in this culture of ours. They often have no filter, no way to discern the nature of the problem. They’ve been told they are victims, that victimhood is normal, that everyone is oppressed, just passive recipients of injustice and cruel treatment. I talk to young people who are absolutely convinced they aren’t going to be here five years from now because of global warming. They are oppressed because they have been falsely led to believe their lives were stolen. They truly believe the world is going to end in a few years.
Everybody I know also has ADD, HD, BPD, PTSD, the list of alphabet soup just goes on and on, but basically all these people feel afflicted by some oppressive mental health issue. They may have some of those issues, but you don’t have to be oppressed by it. Sexism, racism, classism, whatever it is, oppression is really being celebrated as the norm, as our lot in life, almost as if it is actually sinful NOT to be oppressed.
I almost have to walk on eggshells sometimes, because I don’t want to deny genuine suffering, I’m not saying these things never happen or they aren’t real, I’m just saying, you don’t have to be oppressed by them. You don’t have to live there.
Today I spent some time with some people living in a fascist country that hates them, surrounded by jack booted thugs out to get them, victims of child abuse now completely rejected by their families. Everybody had cheated them, betrayed them, and oppressed them. Another name for these people are, actively using drug addicts. Seriously, you conjure up enough emotional pain, you can totally rational lies using substances.
I can’t save anyone, I can’t fix anyone, but I do need to say there’s another way, there’s a better way. Jesus came to set the captives free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. No matter what has happened to you, no matter where you’ve been, no matter what afflicts you, you don’t have to live in a state of oppression anymore.